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Forums Forums Answering Skeptics and Debunking Cynics Rebuttal to cynic’s article at Salon.com

last updated by  marcia 16 years, 5 months ago
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  • #63082
    Pam B
    Keymaster

    With permission from marcia, I am reposting her rebuttal letter, sent to the editors of the oline magazine, Salon.com:

    Letter to the Editor, Salon.com

    I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between the approach of the two writers reporting on the subject of psychic mediumship, which ran in the People section of your online magazine on June 13, 2002.

    Laura Laughlin begins with “Watching the Giant Mediums….. After seeing them, I’m not so skeptical” while Shari Waxman begins with “Shooting Crap…… Alleged psychic John Edward actually gambles on hope and basic laws of statistics.” While Ms. Laughlin goes on to describe her own personal experiences and presents a balanced pro/con picture, Ms. Waxman leaves no doubt from the very beginning that her mind is firmly closed. While Laura Laughlin gives firsthand accounts of two separate seminars, Ms. Waxman felt no need to attend a seminar, visit the studio or approach her subject matter. She wasn’t looking to form an opinion, she already had one and simply used the article as an opportunity to express it, and express it often. A more fitting place for her article would have been in the Opinion section. Placing it elsewhere leads readers to believe she approached her task with objectivity, when nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some phrases from her article: “self-professed ability, counselor to a host of B-list celebrities, has not fessed up to all of his talents, he is also a master satistician, smoke and mirrors, expose the charlatan behind the prophet, playing a numbers game, audience members are coached, the art of intelligence insulting has rarely known such mastery, his gig, I prefer to believe Edward’s fans are not unintelligent”. If there is a spot in the article that doesn’t reflect this type of bias, I for one can’t find it.

    Ms. Waxman applies her law of probability to what she considers to be the weakest example of psychic ability from Mr. Edward. Why not apply the same consideration to what she deems to be the strongest? Why no mention of the incredible story of Mikey DiSabato or Andrew Miracolo? Would it have been too difficult to throw mud at those and hope a bit might stick? She conveniently omits key events from her recitation about the wallpaper comment, leaving readers with the impression that it’s something entirely different than what appears in the book. The story that follows the blurb about wallpaper is anything but mundane. The sitter, Carol Maywood, might take exception to Ms. Waxman making light of a story connected to her brother’s passing and the sense of peace a reading from John brought her family. Ms. Waxman doesn’t let a little thing like that bother her however.

    I believe it’s Ms. Waxman who exhibits mastery in the art of intelligence insulting and “careful plucking”. Trotting out the oh so tired “The creation of each half-hour episode requires six hours of taping. Do the math” is especially sad. The insinuation of course is that the show is edited to make Mr. Edward look better, when in fact the only editing done is for time, not content. This had been addressed so often, the mere fact that it was brought up yet again speaks volumes as to the author’s lack of research. In fact, the amount of tape shot to produce the show is well within the norm. A quote from a section on shooting ratios from the book “The Little Digital Video Editing Book” by Michael Rubin (an established author and film industry expert) might have served Ms. Waxman well. It is as follows: “Between 9 and 12 hours of material is required for many 1 hour evening TV shows, with a typical ratio of 10:1. When doing the math as she suggests, the taping ratio for Crossing Over doesn’t seem to have nearly the odious meaning she would have one suspect.

    While I appreciate Ms. Waxman’s supposition that supporters of John Edward may not have as yet lost all of their cognitive skills, there would have been a really easy way to be a little more definitive…….talk to us, we’re easy enough to find. Just visit http://www.johnedwardfriends.org. Why, the web-mistress herself might even have made herself available for comment had anyone cared to ask. Members who have had readings might also have been willing to relay their experiences, but that wouldn’t have fit Ms. Waxman’s agenda, so why bother?

    Of course, when the writer starts off with a lead in like “Shooting Crap”, what can you expect? Turns out it applies to her entire article.

    The original aritcle may be seen at salon.com
    here.

    #77938
    Fairiedust
    Participant

    BULLSYE, with a feather attached.

    FD

    #77939
    scrambled6
    Participant

    Woooo!!! Marcia….you go girl!! Well done! Again, thank you for being a voice :thumbsup:

    Cyndy

    #77940
    Phigalilly
    Participant

    OH! Marcia,
    You are SO GOOD at that!!!!! Not only do point out the lack of journalistic integrity, you do it with such eloquence and skill that should Ms. Waxman ever read your rebuttal, I’m sure she would turn purple with rage and embarrassment. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of these days some magazine editor offers you a job based on one of your JE rebuttal letters. If I had a magazine, I’d hire you in a second!:)

    #77950
    marcia
    Participant

    I’m blushing here. Thanks for the compliments. Be sure to read Ms. Laughlin’s article as well as Ms. Waxman’s…..there’s not much doubt as to who put more effort into their story.
    I had some help with my film editing quote from a “special source”…..just a little confirmation that there are no such thing as coincidences when something is meant to be.

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